A revolution has occurred in university life in the UK since the 1960s, one that has made it harder for sociologists to help the discipline to progress. The expansion of the undergraduate population and the introduction of fees have led to students being turned into consumers. In addition, attempts to measure the quality of research and to relate the results to funding have had a damaging effect. The consequence of these changes is that universities now act like corporations, more concerned with profit than adding to knowledge, while staff are divided into the two classes of high-flying academic entrepreneur and stressed and depressed members of the precariat. These changes have demolished what remained of the ivory tower, making it all but impossible for universities to focus on the vital function of the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.
KeywordsUniversity expansion Students as consumers Negative consequences of the REF The academic entrepreneur Quit-lit The need for ivory towers
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